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Comeback Runs Out of Time : Age and Zavala Catch Up With Castillo in 3rd

Boxing: Former world lightweight contender, 39, beaten to the punch and knocked out by Rosemead fighter, 11 year his junior.

March 21, 1997|VINCE KOWALICK | TIMES STAFF WRITER

RESEDA — Father Time or the fast fists of Rudy Zavala?

Perhaps both figured in the falling of Ruben Castillo smack in the middle of his comeback trail Thursday night at the Reseda Country Club.

Zavala spoiled Castillo's first appearance at the Country Club by stopping the 39-year-old former lightweight contender at 2:20 of the third round in their scheduled 10-round lightweight main event before about 700.

Castillo (70-10-2), who fought and lost four world-title fights during the 1980s before resuming his career nearly two years ago, looked every bit his age while attempting to ward off Zavala's blows while leaning on the ropes.

Zavala (25-6-2, 21 knockouts), 11 years Castillo's junior, landed mostly uppercuts and fought through Castillo's attempts to counterpunch.

Castillo dropped to his knees midway through the third round.

Moments later, Zavala, a former North American Federation champion from Rosemead, backed Castillo into his own corner and fired away before referee Lou Fillipo stepped in to stop the fight.

Afterward, Castillo slumped on a stool in his dressing room while the subject of retirement was raised.

"Maybe," Castillo said. "Right now I just want to go home. I'm really disappointed. I'm used to going against the ropes and counterpunching. But I missed so many key shots.

"This kid, I heard he was a hell of a fighter."

Zavala said Castillo simply was too old and too slow.

"He hit hard," Zavala said. "I felt his punches. But I hit him in the head and I knew I was hurting him. He's not as quick as the younger guys. Once you get to that age, your reflexes are the first thing to go."

In other bouts, Effi "The Israeli Bomber" Schneider, who fights out of the Ten Goose Boxing stable in Van Nuys, fought to a four-round split-decision draw against Octavio Suarez of Downey in a lightweight event.

Schneider (7-1-1), a native of Tel Aviv who lives in West Los Angeles, appeared to have Suarez (2-1-1) on the ropes toward the end of the fight.

Two judges scored the fight 39-37, one in favor of Schneider and the other for Suarez. A third scored it 38-38.

Schneider said he was sluggish because of recent illness.

"I was sick all last week," Schneider said. "I just got back in the gym last week. I felt strong, but I lost some of the sharpness.

"Still, I thought I won the fight. I knew the decision would be close. But the last round, he was ready."

Middleweight Robert Galstyan of Glendale was stopped by Julio Garcia of Cuba with 30 seconds remaining in the third round of a scheduled four-round bout.

Garcia (6-0-1) had Galstyan (5-3) backed into his own corner and had opened cuts on his face when the fight was stopped.

Welterweight Horatio Garcia of Sacramento ran his record to 7-0 with a devastating first-round knockout of Yovani Cervantes of Los Angeles.

Garcia trapped Cervantes in his own corner and pounded him to the canvas with a combination to the head at 2:10 into the round.

In a four-round light heavyweight bout, James Brock of Los Angeles scored a unanimous decision over Hamlet Babakhanloo of Glendale.

Brock (3-0-1) opened a gash on Babakhanloo's nose late in the fight. Babakhanloo, a native of Iran, was making his pro debut.

(BEGIN TEXT OF INFOBOX / INFOGRAPHIC)

The Scorecard

Thursday's results at Reseda Country Club

* Lightweight

Rudy Zavala (25-6-2, 21 KOs) d. Ruben Castillo (70-10-2), knockout, 2:20 of third round.

* Welterweight

Horatio Garcia (7-0, 6 KOs) d. Yovani Cervantes (8-10), knockout 2:10 of first round.

* Lightweight

Effi Schneider (7-1-1) vs. Octavio Suarez (3-1-1), six-rounds, split-decision draw.

* Middleweight

Julio Garcia (6-0-1) d. Robert Galstyan (5-3), third-round knockout.

* Light heavyweight

James Brock (3-0-1) d. Hamlet Babakhanloo (0-1), four-rounds unanimous decision.

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